A Canadian start-up Algolux launches computational photography. What is computational photography?
Algolux uses computational photography to fix blurring problems traditionally solved by the physics of optics. This means that less optical elements are needed to correct aberrations, resulting in clearer pictures from thinner and lighter camera modules – at lower manufacturing costs.
Our current technologies include Virtual Lens, which improves image quality, and Virtual IS, our image stabilization software that removes motion blur from low-light and night-time pictures.
We strive to develop new techniques and IP in order to make Algolux technology indispensable for any company that incorporates a digital camera in its products.
Today’s optics are typically composed of many optical elements. These elements correct geometric and chromatic aberrations that arise when using a single lens. Assembling more lenses can further correct these deviations but there’s a trade-off: Additional weight, thickness and cost of the device.
Traditional optics have therefore hit a wall: Their size can no longer be reduced significantly for cameras inside thin devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.).
Lenses in smart devices are small and plastic (for the most part), and do not have the quality of a full-sized optical system, especially for low-light and night-time pictures. As sensors and pixels get smaller, the probability of blur and other aberrations in pictures increases.
Algolux Virtual Lens corrects optical aberrations through software. This enables sharper, more detailed photos. Additionally, custom optics can be used in conjunction with Virtual Lens to reduce the weight and z-height of a camera module, making for a thinner device.
Examples of Virtual Lens – improving a picture taken with a smartphone’s camera:
Algolux Virtual IS corrects motion blur and shutter shake, two common problems that arise when taking pictures in low-light conditions. Virtual IS uses a secondary camera (for example, the front-facing camera on a smartphone) to track the micro-movements causing the blur. It then uses this information to deblur the image. The resulting low-light pictures are sharp and blur-free.
Example of Virtual IS – deblurring a picture taken with a smartphone’s camera:
We are currently focusing on smartphones and tablets, a fast-growing market where cameras and computational power are tightly intertwined. As smartphones attain a certain level of parity across vendors, camera quality and device design have become very strong differentiators. These are two areas where Algolux technology makes a direct impact by helping devices stand out.
Our technology allows manufacturers’ devices to capture clearer pictures with their existing equipment, especially in low-light conditions.
Using our algorithms, custom optics can be used to reduce the weight and z-height of a camera module, making for a thinner device.
The quantity and quality of optical elements needed is diminished, allowing manufacturers to obtain similar or better results at a lower cost.